Are You Making these 5 Killer Customer Service Mistakes?

He didn’t think he did anything wrong.  “After all,” he thought, “I’m hired as a Publix Pharmacist to fill prescriptions.  I do that very well.”

Like many of us, he didn’t even see what he did wrong.  But from the modern customer’s perspective, this organizational leader made 5 killer customer service mistakes  in just a 2 minute transaction.  Those mistakes will kill any business in this global marketplace. We just cannot afford to kill the customer with poor service.

Our challenge is to make the shift from wielding power to leveraging it effectively.


Killer Mistake #1. He saw his job as transactional instead of relational. 

Many make of us the mistake that he did.  He assumed that if the customer is in his store it was because they had a need and he had the product to meet that NEED.  A simple transaction, right?


This is an opportunity to build a relationship where customers CHOOSE us as their preferred provider.  We have to earn their business.  They do NOT owe us their business.

The Sharing Economy shifted the emphasis from provider to customer.  They no longer have to come to us but we build our company by focusing on them.  That is a power paradigm shift from us to them.  Instead of wielding power, we must learn to leverage it.  

To understand more about making this power shift, check out my new leadership training platform. PWR University.

That m power shift demands moving from the transactional to the relational.  Changing perspective is a radical change for many leaders but, when done well, creates a connection and a collaboration instead of competition.

Leverage Your Leadership Power – Make every Transaction a Strong Relationship. 

Killer Mistake #2. He failed to anticipate the need. 

Every leader knows there will be the occasional issues that they cannot forecast.  In this case, the Publix Pharmacist could not anticipate supplier problems of a certain drug.  The problem came in that he didn’t take the next step and anticipate how that would affect his customers.  He simply saw it as a transaction and he was doing all he could. Another killer mistake.

The Sharing Economy of today demands that we as leaders foster that relationship by anticipating and meeting their needs.  That makes it easy for the customer to continue using our products and services.  With computer technology and their records, we can forecast how who and when will be affected by that initial supply problem.  Waiting and reacting is a deadly way to do business in the Sharing Economy.

Leverage Your Leadership Power – Anticipate Their Needs Before They Know it Exists.  

Deadly Mistake #3. He blamed everyone else. 

It all went downhill when he started blaming.  First it was the supplier’s fault.  Customers don’t really care, they just want the product.  But when he blamed the customer, he committed the next killer mistake.  He didn’t understand that power shift.  He was operating from Competition (me vs. you) instead of a Collaborative (we can solve this together) perspective.

The Sharing Economy is driven by old fashioned customer service. 

We want relationships and that means a two way sharing.  As customers, we share our information and our lives because there is a connection for the slightest of transactions.  We build our brand and customer list when we  share each customer’s pain and pleasure.  There is an authentic  connection.

Blaming prevents sharing.  Blaming doesn’t share the pain but increases it by saying, “I cannot do anything about it so don’t blame me.  Blame someone else.”  In the end, that Pharmacist refused to engage the customer’s problem, in essence saying, “It is your problem, not mine.”

Leverage Your Leadership Power – Share Their Pain, Don’t Blame. 

Deadly Mistake #4. He argued with the customer – and caused a new problem.

Blaming will do this.  Blaming often leads to an argument, i.e. a separation between two parties.  Any good business leader knows that “the customer is always right” but especially in matters of opinion.  So when the customer voiced her frustration, “You are not measuring up to our old pharmacy.” He made a poor choice by saying, “No, I think we are.”

There are times where facts don’t matter and arguing only makes the situation worse.  She stated her opinion.  Note it was HER opinion.  It is not right or wrong.  It is an opportunity to listen and connect.

Ouch.  Another killer mistake when healing was needed. 

Who wants to do business with a provider like that?  Especially when we have so many other choices locally and online.

But it didn’t end there.  Now she is angry and doesn’t have the drugs she needs.

He needed to  voluntarily check his internal network for a solution.  If that didn’t work, then he needs to go to the next level.  As leaders, the power paradigm shift tells us that we can leverage our power for incredible results when we take the initiative to solve their problems.  It is not merely a matter of duty but simply the smart thing to do. 

Some argue that is too much work demanding too much time.  But is it? Remember, we are connecting to build a long term relationship where they choose us.  That means we choose to go further than we would if it were merely a transaction and they had few good choices.

Leverage Your Leadership Power – Collaborate to Solve Their Problem, Don’t Argue

Deadly Mistake #5. He let the customer leave unhappy. 

In the end, he let her leave without her prescription and without knowing where she could get it.  That left her with not one but two additional problems>  Where will she find the drug?  and Will she continue to use this pharmacy?

Leverage Your Leadership Power – Make it EASY for Customers to say “YES!!!”


Imagine her surprise when the first competitor she called had plenty of that prescription and would be glad to fill it immediately.  You don’t need much imagination to know what she did next.  But did she just transfer that one prescription?  Did she continue to shop for groceries at Publix?

3D PWR Tip: Leverage Your Leadership Power – Don’t Make the Deadly Traditional Mistakes in the Sharing Economy

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